Legendary singer John “Jay” Traynor has died at the age of 70 after a battle with liver cancer. His death was announced by his friend Jay Siegel via Facebook:
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Sang in Two Popular 60s Groups
Jay Traynor was the first leading singer of the Jay and the Americans. Prior to this, he had been the lead singer of the Mystics. His departure from the Americans is detailed on the band’s website:
With the success of “She Cried”, Jay and the Americans were booked on a continuous string of one niters. The constant travel and the failure of the next two singles, proved too much for Traynor. He started missing rehearsals and the guys thought he wanted to go solo. He admitted he had been thinking about it and the guys said “don’t think, we’ll go on without you” (Brooklyn Attitude) Actually it was a sad day for everyone involved. John Traynor”s solo career was less than it should have been.
Much of the band’s early material was produced by the legendary duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The pair wanted Jay to become known as “Binky Jones” rather than “Jay” but eventually relented as Traynor made it clear he did not wish to be known as “Binky.”
Traynor was replaced in the Americans by “Jay Black.”
It’s alleged that the reason he was hired by The Mystics because he fit into their former lead singer’s costume. Later he was fired from the band after the group’s manager allegedly found Traynor rifling through his desk. The singer maintained he was looking for a publicity photo to pass along to a friend but was fired anyway.
2. He Was a New Yorker
He was a native of Brooklyn, New York. The Americans were discovered performing in venues around New York University during the 1950s. According to Traynor, he’d wanted to be a rock ‘n’ roll singer since seeing a band perform at his high school when he was 15. Like so many stars, Traynor’s career began by singing on the Subway for nickels with another group of individuals, collectively they were known as the Ab-Tones.
3. He Had a Successful Solo Career
4. He Worked With The Who
During the 1970s, he took a more “behind the scenes” role in music, working with bands such as The Who and Yes.
5. He Was Still Touring Up To 2012
In his later years he became a fan of big band music and Frank Sinatra, performing Sinatra songs with Joey Thomas Big Band. He released records and toured in this vain. Traynor also toured with The Tokens in 2012.